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November 22, 2004

A Contrarian View of the NBA Brawl

Yes, it was bad behavior. Yes, an athlete really ought never go into the stands and throwing punches.

But.

He was provoked. He had something thrown at him, right? Why aren't we focusing more on that part of the bad behavior?

Do I think Artest should be suspended? Absolutely. For life? No. He behaved badly, he lost control, he started punching out the NBA's customers, which isn't very good for business. He should be punished.

But I don't think I agree with this can-you-top-my-level-of-outrage contest.

He behaved badly. But people occasionally get into bar fights after a big provocation, and we generally don't strip away their livelihood. If you commit an assault on someone -- and throwing something at someone is an assault -- I'm sorry, but you're pretty much asking for it, and you can't complain much at what happens next.

I don't think the year's suspension without pay will stick; I think it will be negotiated down to something a lot less harsh. I hope it's not negotiated down to a slap on the wrist; he should be punished, as I've said.

But I think most men (and a few women!) would feel sorely provoked by having something thrown at them while they're just trying to do their job. And if you lash out -- well, you behaved unprofessionally and badly. But I can't say that you'd be behaving like an animal or a thug or otherwise inexplicably and unaccountably.

It's understandable behavior. Understandable does not mean "excusable" -- though many on the left seem to think it means just that -- but I think it does tend to mitigate the crime.

You throw something at this guy while I'm blogging, and you see what happens next.

Let's just say you'll be hearing the words "Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!" in the ensuing combat rounds.

Okay, I Changed My Mind Update: Suspend this dick for life, just based on these quotes:

Meanwhile, Artest is promoting his record label, Truwarier, and said that with his other career endeavors he was trying to make his life more positive.

"Having a record company and putting out my own CD. There's clothes and shoes. There's also an upcoming book deal that I'm trying to do," he said.

"I'm trying to be positive. I'm a big fan of the Nobel Peace Prize."

Well... obviously.


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posted by Ace at 05:20 PM

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